1st Edition

Philosophy of Sex and Love An Opinionated Introduction

By Patricia Marino Copyright 2019
    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Writing for non-specialists and students as well as for fellow philosophers, this book explores some basic issues surrounding sex and love in today's world, among them consent, objectification, non-monogamy, racial stereotyping, and the need to reconcile contemporary expectations about gender equality with our beliefs about how love works. Author Patricia Marino argues that we cannot fully understand these issues by focusing only on individual desires and choices. Instead, we need to examine the social contexts within which choices are made and acquire their meanings. That perspective, she argues, is especially needed today, when the values of individualism, self-expression, and self-interest permeate our lives. Marino asks how we can fit these values, which govern so many areas of contemporary life, with the generosity, caring, and selflessness we expect in love and sex.

    Key Features of Philosophy of Sex and Love: An Opinionated Introduction

    • Offers a contemporary, problems-based approach to the subject, helping readers better understand and address current issues and controversial questions
    • Includes coverage of sex and love as they intersect with topics like disability, race, medicine, and economics
    • Considers not only the ethical, but also the broadly social and political dimensions of sex and love
    • Includes a helpful introduction and conclusion in each chapter and is written throughout in a clear and straightforward style, with examples and signposts to help guide the student and general reader
    • A comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography provides a valuable tool for anyone’s further research





    Chapter 1. Sex, respect, and objectification


    Sex as inherently objectifying: the view of Immanuel Kant

    Feminist theories of objectification

    Nussbaum on the varying aspects of objectification

    Challenges for Nussbaum's theory



    Chapter 2: Objectification, autonomy, and pornography


    Objectification and social autonomy

    Social autonomy and adaptive preferences

    A social perspective on pornography

    The "pornutopia" and pornography's falsity

    Beyond the heterosexual context



    Chapter 3: Consent and rape law


    A short history of the law of consent

    "'No' means no"

    Communicative sexuality and nonverbal consent

    The Antioch Policy and verbal consent

    Affirmative consent, sexual autonomy, and the law



    Chapter 4 Sex work


    Sex work and the law

    Sex work as a free contractual exchange
    Sex work, commodification, and the specialness of sex

    Commercialized sex in context

    Sexual surrogacy


    Chapter 5: Union theories of love


    Why a theory of love?
    The union theory and its difficulties
    The relationship of self and "we"
    The "we" as a merger of ends and desires

    Love and irrationality


    Chapter 6: Concern theories of love


    Love as caring concern

     Disinterestedness and reciprocity
    Love and autonomy in the union and concern theories

     Love, autonomy, and deference

    Love and rationality revisited: appraisal and bestowal

    Limitless care and the problem of paternalism



    Chapter 7: Love, fairness, and equality


    Union theories and balancing
    Concern theories and deliberation

    Equality and fairness
    Why a theory of love, revisited



    Chapter 8: Orientations of sex and love


    Concepts, terminology, and history
    The "born that way" and "not a choice" arguments: conceptual complexities

    The "born that way" and "not a choice" arguments: ethical and political complexities

    Orientations and values of sex and love



    Chapter 9: Love and marriage


    The nature of marriage 
    Is marriage a promise?

    Gender and the institution of marriage

    Is marriage bad for love?


    Chapter 10: Sex, love, and race


    Race in cultural context

    Some problems with racialized preferences

    Further evaluation: causes and consequences of racialized preferences

    Marriage and racial solidarity



    Chapter 11: Sex, love, and disability


    Disability in context
    Physical disabilities and sexual surrogacy

    Surrogacy, intimacy, and love

    Intellectual disabilities and complexities of consent



    Chapter 12: The medicalization of sex and love


    Medicalization and the "Viagra narrative"
    The social control of women's sexuality

    Recent scientific study of women's sexuality

    Nonconcordance and the interpretation of desire

    Lack of desire and eagerness versus enjoying

    Medicalization of love?


    Chapter 13: The economics of sex and love


    Economics and love: what is the problem?
    Altruism and the possibility of "self-interested" love

    Economics and sex
    Sex, love, and economic methodology


    Chapter 14. Ethical nonmonogamy


    What is ethical nonmonogamy?

    The values of ethical nonmonogamy

    The "paradox of prevalence" and changing the law

    Challenges for ethical nonmonogamy








    Patricia Marino is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in Canada, where, in addition to philosophy of sex and love, she works in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of economics. She served as co-president of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love from 2008 to 2018, and is the author of Moral Reasoning in a Pluralistic World (2015).

    "[This] is an exceptional book for any instructor who is looking for a rare, ‘opinionated’ introductory text in the philosophy of sex and love that is not an anthology.

    What is particularly valuable about this book is that it doesn’t merely talk about thinkers who do philosophy, but shows firsthand (and importantly, in a fairly accessible way that most conventional textbooks may not) how to do philosophy. If that is the level of engagement an instructor seeks, I can think of no better textual guide to the philosophy of sex and love than this book."
    Dale Murray (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) in Teaching Philosophy

    "Patricia Marino's Philosophy of Love and Sex: An Opinionated Introduction is a wonderful addition to the growing literature – and indeed growing number of textbooks – in this area of philosophy, which is still only a few decades old."
    Robert Scott Stewart, Ph.D., Metapsychology Online Review